The AIF Project

Herbert GURNEY

Regimental number2409
Place of birthBigga, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressReid's Flat, Bigga, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 11"
Weight165 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Louisa Gurney, Reid's Flat, Bigga, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date22 February 1916
Place of enlistmentGoulburn, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name56th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/73/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 30 September 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll56th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 26 September 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 30 September 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 19 November 1916.

Admitted to Devonport Military Hospital, 19 November 1916; marched in to No 1 Command Depot, 24 November 1916.

Admitted to Fovant Military Hospital, 11 December 1916 (bronchitis); discharged, 18 December 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 31 December 1916; taken on strength, 56th Bn, in the field, 7 February 1917.

Wounded in action, 15 May 1917 (buried by shell), and admitted to 14th Australian Field Ambulance, and transferred to 47th Casualty Clearing Station; to 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital, Doullens, 16 May 1917 (shell shock); discharged to duty, 28 May 1917.

Admitted to 14th Australian Field Ambulance, 2 August 1917 (septic traumatic abrasions); discharged to duty, 7 August 1917; rejoined Bn, in the field, 10 August 1917.

Killed in action, 26 September 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, GURNEY Herbert

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